Apple has reportedly removed over 200 employees from its ‘Project Titan’ team which is responsible for its autonomous car group.
Apple has confirmed the layoffs to CNBC and also clarified that some employees are being moved to other projects inside the company.
“We have an incredibly talented team working on autonomous systems and associated technologies at Apple. As the team focuses their work on several key areas for 2019, some groups are being moved to projects in other parts of the company, where they will support machine learning and other initiatives, across all of Apple,” the spokesperson said.
“We continue to believe there is a huge opportunity with autonomous systems, that Apple has unique capabilities to contribute, and that this is the most ambitious machine learning project ever,” they added.
Apple is reportedly restructuring its Project Titan team as a part of the new management which is being led by former Tesla lead engineer Doug Field alongside Bob Mansfield.
Details about Apple’s secret Project Titan team first surfaced in late 2015. The team has had a tumultuous history as it was originally intended to develop a fully autonomous vehicle. Then, Apple scaled back its efforts to develop an autonomous driving platform for vehicles.
Apple’s CEO Tim Cook has already confirmed that the company is working on its own autonomous driving platform as it considers the technology as the “mother of all AI projects.”
Apple has a fleet of self-driving vehicles comprising of 27 different vehicles which are being used to collect data for its self-driving platform as well as for Apple Maps.
When details about Project Titan first leaked, it was believed that Apple was furiously working on the technology. However, late in 2016, analyst Ming-Chi Kuo claimed that Apple has shifted its focus from the secret car project to augmented reality.
The first results of the hard work done by Apple’s Project Titan team is still at least a few years away. Apart from Apple, Google and Waymo are two other major tech companies working on self-driving vehicles.